Kapolei finds ace to
match Kailua’s Kessell

So much for sore arms.

Tajia Acierto stunned defending state champion Kailua with a three-hitter, leading Kapolei to a 4-0 win yesterday afternoon.

The Hurricanes (11-1) advanced to the championship game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association softball playoffs. Kapolei will play tomorrow, 3:30 p.m. at Mililani High School's field against the winner of today's semifinal between Pearl City and Mililani. Pearl City beat Castle 13-7 yesterday in a game postponed a day due to rain.

Kailua (11-1) will play in tomorrow's third-place game, also at Mililani field, starting at 1 p.m.

The win spoke volumes for the heart of the Hurricanes. "It feels awesome. Half the team is hurt," said Amanda Shigetani, who will be part of the first graduating class from the Leeward high school. "Tajia has a bad arm."

Acierto was nothing short of spectacular. Less than 24 hours after firing a no-hitter in Kapolei's 2-0 win over Roosevelt, she struck out five Surfriders and did not walk a batter. She wasn't perfect -- she hit one batter -- but the sophomore was pretty close.

"Can't take anything away from how they played. Their girl pitched well. She had us eating out of her hand," Kailua head coach Bernard Victor said. Acierto was in a groove from the start, mixing pitches in and out, keeping the Surfriders off balance.

Chante Wallwork went 2-for-3 to pace the Surfriders, but the rest of the squad combined for one base hit. It was jolting defeat for Kailua, playing on its home turf. Ace Courtney Kessell allowed all four runs on eight hits. The 2003 Star-Bulletin state player of the year fanned seven and walked one in a performance Victor felt was worthy of a win.

"She didn't have her best game, but it was good enough. We just gotta hit," Victor said. "This is our home field and we were misjudging balls."

Kapolei broke a scoreless drought with a two-run fourth inning and followed it with two more scores in the sixth. The first pair of runs almost didn't happen, however, because of a bizarre turn, pun intended.

Austi Paris, who went 2-for-3 to lead the Kapolei attack, led off the fourth with a double to deep left field. After Malamaisaua Manuma lined out to short, Valana Manuma drilled a single to left. Paris raced around third, but looped wide and bumped into head coach Tony Saffery.

Paris fell to the dirt as the throw came in from left field to home plate. The throw from home to third was low, however, and Paris raced home with the first run of the game.

Moments later, after Jasmine Yoro struck out, Shigetani stepped up. "I was just trying to get on base. I didn't think I was gonna hit it like that," she said.

Shigetani, a senior, ripped a double to right on a 2-2 count. Manuma came in to score, and Kapolei led 2-0.

Kailua failed to make more than a ripple at the plate, and the Hurricanes caught up to Kessell again in the top of the sixth. Paris led off the frame with a double to right and moved to third on a single by Valana Manuma.

Yoro then grounded up the middle for a single, bringing Paris home with Kapolei's third run. Manuma, who advanced to third, came in moments later on a sacrifice fly to left by Shigetani for a 4-0 lead.

More OIA

Pearl City 13, Castle 7

Crystel Plunkett hit a pair of solo home runs and Shanna Vierra went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs as the Chargers defeated the Knights to advance to the semifinals of the OIA tournament, guaranteeing themselves a spot in the upcoming state tournament.

Pearl City will take on Mililani in today's semifinal game, with the winner advancing to tomorrow's championship game against Kapolei.

W--Corrie Nishikita. L--Lia Pedrina.

Leading hitters--PC: Nishikita, 2-5, 2 runs; Crystel Plunkett, 2-5, 2 HRs, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Marina Guzman, 2-5, 3 runs; Kanani Numata, 3-5, 3 runs, RBI; Shanna Vierra, 3-5, HR, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Noelle Hirahara, 3-4, RBI. Cast: Tiani Mattos, 3-4, 2 runs; Pedrina, 1-3, 2B, 2 runs; Cheyna Farley, 1-3, 2B.

Leilehua 3, Roosevelt 0

Alexis San Nicolas threw a one-hitter, and Pikake Nutter-Gaudet went 2-for-3 with a home run and 2 RBIs as the Mules defeated the Rough Riders.

The win advanes Leilehua into tomorrow's OIAfifth-place game. The Mules will play the winner of today's Castle/Kahuku game. The winner of tomorrow's game will receive the OIA's fifth and final spot in the upcoming state tournament.

At Stevenson Middle School

W--Alexis San Nicolas. L--Genoa Aiko.

Leading hitters--Lei: Pikake Nutter-Gaudet, 2-3, 3B, HR, 2 RBI.

ILH division II

University 5, HBA/SA/SF 1

Kuulei Padeken's two-run triple capped a four-run first inning, which was more than enough support for pitcher Jessica Ghazali as the Junior 'Bows clinched a spot in the Division II state softball tournament with the victory.

Ghazali went the distance, giving up just one run on three hits.

W--Jessica Ghazali. L--Carolyn Fisher.

Leading hitters--UHS: Eva Yamaguchi, 2-4, run. Kuulei Padeken, 1-1, 3B, 2 BBs, 2 RBI. Richie-Ann Titcomb, 2B.

Final ILH standings

Team W L
Kamehameha* 13 0
Punahou 11 3
Iolani* 10 3
University 7 7
HBA/St. Andrew's/St. Francis 7 7
Mid-Pacific 4 10
Maryknoll 2 12
Sacred Hearts 1 13

*-Team has one tie.

Kamehameha and Punahou advance to the state tournament.

University advances to the Div. II state tournament.


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